There are garage bands, the kind of bands that kids form in their garage.
And then there are GARAGE bands, the kind that tap into the spirit of the Sonics and the Swamp Rats.
That's where you find The Nox Boys.
Unlike most GARAGE bands -- which these days feature middle-age guys -- The Nox Boys (based in Blawnox) are still in their teens. When you watch singer-guitarist Zack Keim, you can't help but think he's channeling a ghost from the golden era -- most likely Buddy Holly.
The band's brief bio explains, "They formed in 2012 after watching the horseradish potato chip episode of Rod Serling's 'Twilight Zone' ... and spontaneously started to create original music inspired by '50s frat rock, '60s psych and '70s punk."
It wasn't exactly like that.
Zack, a Fox Chapel High School junior, started out having gotten into indie-rock bands like Vampire Weekend and The Strokes. He started performing when he was in eighth grade, getting backup from veteran Pittsburgh musician Bob Powers, a pedal steel guitarist he met at Moondog's open stages.
Then, he says, he got turned on to the likes of Ty Segall, King Kong and the Black Lips and discovered Pittsburgh bands like Meeting of Important People.
They formed the Nox Boys with Mr. Powers' nephew, drummer Sam Berman, and bassist Zach Stadtlander, both Fox Chapel classmates, and started playing their first shows last December.
"All of us like rock 'n' roll," Zack says. "Me and Bob are the ones who are really into garage rock. Sam likes Black Lips and stuff. Zach is more into blues, and he likes Guns 'N Roses a lot."
Although you wouldn't expect retro-garage to be a hit among kids at Fox Chapel High School, Zack says, "They like it. It's completely different. There aren't many bands our age doing garage rock. We'll go play like a punk venue, like this place in Natrona called Scumbags, and we go out and do reverb guitars and slide guitar like the Ventures. It's shocking but they like it."
To Zack's credit, he hasn't been shy about promoting The Nox Boys. When he went to see Pittsburgh's garage-rock kings, The Cynics, for the first time at Mr. Smalls in April, he passed a demo tape to the band.
"I could tell there was something there in spite of it being almost inaudible," says Cynics guitarist Gregg Kostelich, "but wanted to see it, hear it live. The more I saw them, met their parents and got to hang with them, I had realized they are onto something -- sort of when I knew what I wanted to do -- so why not help them get on their way faster?"
The Nox Boys are signing with The Cynics' prestigious garage label Get Hip Records, and on Labor Day Weekend, the band is heading to Detroit to record with Jim Diamond, who produced the first Whites Stripes record, the most recent Cynics record and many garage records in between.
"We're recording on tape, live," Zack says, "so it should be fairly easy."
"We're only going to be missing one day of school," he adds.
"It reminds me of the beginning of The Cynics," Mr. Kostelich says, "and I could not resist to help them make it happen."
The Nox Boys play a free set in Arsenal Park, Lawrenceville, at 1:45 p.m. Saturday as part of RANT: Rock All Night Tour.
Scott Mervis: email@example.com; 412-263-2576. Twitter: @scottmervis_pg.